Falklands Reunion

This evening my dad is attending a Falklands Conflict reunion at RNAS Culdrose.  Thirty years ago he was on board HMS Hermes in the South Atlantic.  I had started working at the Halifax in Fareham (May 1982) during the conflict and every evening was spent watching the news, hoping that the H word didn’t come up.  Hermes was a big ship and we feared she would be a prime target.

Dad should never have gone, really.  He’d just finished his draft on the Hermes and was only recalled because his relief was away on holiday when it all kicked off and the Task Force was despatched.  He’d signed on for a final number of years (I forget how many) so that I could stay on at school.  The Navy paid the fees and I’d not have been able to complete my last couple of years if dad had stepped into his civilian clothes at that time.  Now it may be that he would have stayed on anyway, but I’m sure my education had some bearing on his decision.  This played on my mind right through the conflict and I don’t recall ever being happier than when we went across to Pompey to welcome him home in July.  The Hermes looked terrible – rusty streaks all along the sides, an unmistakable testament to the battering of the South Atlantic and the long journeys there and back.

Tonight he’s at the dinner with his son-in-law, an airy fairy, no less.  I’m sure they’ll have a good time.  I’m glad he came home safely 30 years ago and my thoughts are with the families of those who didn’t.  For the record, at the time I didn’t think we should have wasted a single life simply to eject the Argentinians; I’ve not changed my view since then.

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One Response to “Falklands Reunion”

  1. Mandy Turton Says:

    I remember the homecoming well, it was the only time I let myself really think that anything could have happened to our Dad and the tears flowed. When he leftb on the Hermes I was busy with my other half in North Wales; 21 years old, didn’t have a clue where the Falklands was, hadn’t taken an awful lot of notice of the news it didn’t occur to me what was actually happening until the fighting properly started. I remember standing in our kitchen at home one day and a bloke coming to the kitchen window to ask if we wanted to buy some Union Flag bunting (not sure how he knew we expected Dad home any day), I checked with Mum as I knew we were planning to do some house decorating in his honour, her response was “we are welcoming your Dad home not the bloody British Army”, our bunting would be from scraps of old dress making material 🙂 M

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